I remember getting all excited as a kid when my mom made this soup. Just the whiff of those lentils cooking was enough to make my mouth water. Mom always used brown lentils, and as a rambunctious three year old I remember calling it “chocolate soup”. My mother would do anything to get me to eat healthy. Growing up chocolate soup became a synonym for lentil soup, and one of the many family stories and jokes. It’s amazing how those little memories of childhood can put a smile on our faces. I’m smiling and remembering all those happy moments as I’m writing this.
Later on in life I learned how nutritious lentils were, so this simple recipe passed down from my mother and her mother, became part of my family’s diet.
The lentil is a bushy annual plant of the legume family, known for its lens-shaped edible seeds. Lentils come in many colors, from yellow and red-orange, to green, brown and black, each one with a slightly different flavor.
With about 30% of their calories from vegetable protein, lentils have the third-highest level of protein, by weight, of any legume or nut, after soybeans and hemp. They are high in dietary fiber, folate, vitamin B1 and minerals, and are a good source of iron (Source).
Even though lentils are highly nutritious, they, like many other vegetables, contain anti-nutritional factors. Lentils contain trypsin inhibitors and are relatively high in phytate. Trypsin is an enzyme involved in digestion, and phytates reduce the bio-availability of dietary minerals. By soaking lentils overnight the phytates can be reduced.
Let’s get to the recipe!
Easy lentil soup, a family recipeCourse: Food, Manuela’s JournalCuisine: Italian, TriesteDifficulty: Easy
1 cup of Brown/Spanish pardina lentils, picked and rinsed
1 large chopped carrot
1 large chopped onion
1 stalk (rib) of celery chopped
2 tablespoons of olive oil
2 litters of fresh chicken broth
Salt & pepper to taste
- Add the olive oil into a large dutch oven and set over medium heat.
- Add the onions, celery and carrots to the pan.
- Sweat the vegetables for about 4-5 minutes.
- Add the lentils, broth, salt and pepper and stir to combine.
- Simmer covered for 60 minutes or until the lentils are soft.